Judging Guidelines

At NYCSEF, students will be evaluated using two main criteria:

  • Scientific Achievement / Accomplishment (How well did the student(s) successfully meet the technical and scientific requirements for his/her project?)
  • Merit / Individual Accomplishment (How well did the student(s) carry out the project according to his/her ability?).

Judges will be asked to measure:

  • creative ability
  • scientific thought and/or engineering goals
  • thoroughness
  • understanding
  • clarity of the students when referring to the research project they are presenting

Examples of questions judges will be asked to consider:

  • How much does this project build upon or add to current knowledge in this area, topic, or field?
  • How logical was the experimental design?
  • Did the research methods directly address the research problem?
  • How thorough was the analysis of available data?
  • How much initiative did the student have in carrying out the research project?
  • How large a role did the student play in the study’s design and interpretation of results?
  • How creative were the student’s solutions to the research problem?
  • What was the overall comprehension of the topic and supporting information?
  • Was the student able to discuss the project clearly?
  • If a project is a team endeavor, does the complexity of the research question and the methodology reflect a challenge worthy of two or more researchers? Did the team members share the research equally?

Preparing students to discuss their project with Judges:

Judges look for well thought out research. They look at how significant the project is in its field, how thorough the student was, and how much of the experiment thought and design is the student’s own work. Judges get much of the project information from the poster board, abstract and research paper, but it is the interview that will be the major determination of your score. Judges applaud those students who can speak freely and confidently about their work. They will talk with students about their research to see if they have a good grasp of the research project from start to finish.

Students – Helpful hints for judging:

  • Greet the judges and introduce yourself.
  • Appearance, good manners, appropriate attire, and enthusiasm for what you are doing will impress the judges.
  • As an introduction, quickly summarize your project. Practice three or four sentences that convey your hypothesis, significant findings and why your research is important (how it adds to the current knowledge, real world applications, or the rationale from your research plan). Keep it short and to the point.
  • Don’t spend the entire time giving a presentation. Judges have questions that allow you to discuss your methods, your background research, your data collection and analysis, and even why you choose this research question. Be ready to explain these aspects and where they are represented on your project board.
  • Judges need to see if you understand the basics of your research. Know the principles of math, science, engineering, or technology behind your project and topic area.
  • Judges want to know if you have correctly measured and analyzed the data. They want to see if you are able to determine possible sources of error in your project, why you used a specific method or tool for analysis, or what you controlled for in your research design and data collection.
  • Judges want to know if you understand the next steps for your research project. What are possible extensions of your research, further continuations of your project or how you might apply your findings in the ‘real’ world?
  • Judges seek to encourage you in your research efforts and your future goals / career in the field. Many judges remember their own high school science fairs and want to make this experience as rewarding as possible for you.
  • Finally – and most importantly – relax, smile, and enjoy the conversation. This is an opportunity to talk to professionals in science, math and engineering. As you have heard many times, our future is dependant on a scientifically literate population. Ask questions about how they accomplished their goals, why they enjoy their careers, and what lies ahead. Use this interaction to benefit your research, long term education and career goals.

Upcoming Dates & Deadlines

  1. 13Dec2017 NYCSEF Project Application Due Date
  2. 04Mar2018 NYCSEF Preliminary Round @ The City College of New York.
  3. 20Mar2018 NYCSEF Finals Round @ The American Museum of Natural History
  4. 26Mar2018 NYCSEF Awards Ceremony @ The Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  5. 13May2018 International Science & Engineering Fair Week May, 13-18 in Pittsburgh, PA

Get the complete schedule

For NYCSEF 2017 Awards Announcement


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News + Notes

The 2018 NYCSEF Online Registration System is LIVE! Visit Application for more information.

City University of New York (CUNY) website